Sunday, March 15, 2015

A Gorgeous Gritty Song about Being Made for Each Other


A Song Review - The Story by Brandi Carlile is a perfect choice for the couple, who from the moment they laid eyes on each other, and throughout their entire life have understood the other in a way that no other soul on earth understands them. They're almost one, and yes this is the ideal song about being made for other.
(Lyrics) All of these lines across my face
Tell you the story of where I've been
And how I got to where I am
But these stories don't mean anything
When you've got no one to tell them to
It's true...I was made for you
Does this Sound Like the Love You Have?
The Story by Brandi Carlile


Saying 'I love you' is putting it mildly; you know each other to the core of your being and where others have failed you in life, this love never has. You feel as though very few people around you share the kind of love you both share. It's not explainable, and you're often surprised that you've been this blessed. You gasp at knowing you're one of the lucky ones to have found your soul mate. You know this because, as you look around, you see many relationships falling apart. You wish you could give those who have lost in love the blessings you've been most fortunate to find. If only everyone could love and be loved the way you do and have?

A Special Song for A Wedding or Anniversary

If you're looking for a gritty love song that lyrically describes the support you've given to each other then you're first choice may very well be The Story by Brandi Carlile ... read this lyric as proof:
You see the smile that's on my mouth
It's hiding the words that don't come out
And all of my friends who think that I'm blessed
They don't know my head is a mess
No they don't know who I really am
And they don't know what I've been through like you do
And I was made for you
Quote Throw Pillow
You've stayed together, laughed together, and even suffered together; the rainbow that is your relationship appears after every storm ... and that pot of gold isn't valuable to anyone else; it's as exclusive to each of you, as you are to each other. When you hold each other you welcome that floating feeling of fading into the abyss with the only true love you've ever known. How do you explain this love to others? Will others, do others, know what this is? This is why you live, this is why you were born ... to meet this person's soul and you are so grateful to have lived when they live.

You Are One of The Lucky Few

For the lucky few who have loved to this degree, I say congratulations, as you have experienced one of the rarest and truest blessings ever known, something I like to call Won-Love.

by Barbara Tremblay Cipak
Drageda.com - Country Music for all Your Emotions


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Friday, March 13, 2015

Ativa Cross-Cut Shredder Review



Over the years, I have owned several different paper shredders for our home use.  In our world where identity theft is a very real concern, it is wise to purchase and use a cross-cut shredder for old bank statements, old credit card statements and applications, old tax returns and oft times, even unsolicited mail offering new credit cards.  These types of documents should not simply be thrown in the trash bin for someone else to happen upon and use to steal your identity or to apply for credit in your name.   And, we certainly do not want to have to hoard every piece of paper with our personal information just to protect ourselves.

As I preciously stated, I have owned several paper shredders over the last 15 years or so.  None of them last forever.  

In fact, we have to replace our shredders every few years.  I consider myself fortunate if I get one that lasts for 3-4 years.  That is both good and bad.   It is bad because I hate having to replace any equipment or household appliance because it stops working.  It is good because each time I have to buy a new shredder, I purchase an improved version.


The Ativa Cross-Cut Paper Shredder

I recently purchased the Ativa 12 Sheet Cross-Cut Shredder, model #12CC01 and I have been pretty pleased with it.  In the past, my home shredders would only shred a few pages at a time.  This new shredder will truly shred 12 sheets at a time without jamming up.  That is a definite improvement!

I also like the lockable wheels on this shredder.  They allow me to move the shredder to a different room or pull it right up next to the file cabinet.  When I have finished shredding the papers, I simply roll it back into it place next to the wall.


Benefits of the Ativa Cross-Cut Paper Shredder

  • Shreds up to 12 sheets at a time
  • Shreds Credit Cards
  • Waste Basket with Full Indicator Light
  • Lightweight Basket ~ Pulls out / Removable / Easy to Empty
  • Eats through Staples
  • Cross-cut for Shorter Strips
  • Reverse Mode on Power Switch in case of Jams
  • Automatically Shuts off when Overheated
  • On Lockable Wheels
  • Dimensions:  18.9" x 9.5" x 13.6"

If you are bulk shredding, the waste basket does require being emptied frequently.  I should also note that this shredder does not shred cd's, but otherwise is a great little home paper shredder.


Lubricant Sheets for the Ativa Shredder


You will need to properly maintain your Ativa Shredder by periodically using a lubricant sheet.  If you plan to bulk shred, you will need to run a lubricant sheet through the shredder every 30 minutes or so.  The lubricant sheets are very easy to use.  You simply put them through the shredder like you would a regular piece of paper.  There are arrows on the lubricant sheet showing the direction in which to insert the sheet.   Extremely fast and easy!  No Mess!

http://www.officedepot.com/a/products/778012/Ativa-Shredder-Lubricant-Sheets-Pack-Of/




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Thursday, March 12, 2015

Review of Personalized Gift Bags on Zazzle

I like to be creative with my gift wrapping and Zazzle makes this a pleasure with their line of custom boxes and bags.  You can choose from many different styles and sizes and design you gift container to be perfect for your recipient.

You might want to add names or initials to you gift box/bag or perhaps a special photo.  Here are a few ideas from the authors at Review This.

Gift Bags

Gift bags come in four different styles: small, medium large and wine. You can choose either a glossy or a matte finish.  

Review This author Coletta designed this beautiful large gift bag out of a photo of a Copper Ti Plant.


Favor Boxes

Favor boxes are very popular for all types of parties and events.  You will find them at weddings, showers, birthday parties, corporate events and just about any place you have a gathering of people.  Zazzle has 5 great styles of containers that can be customized to fit your needs.
  • Classic Style
  • Heart Box
  • Gable Box
  • Take Out Box
  • Tent Style Ribbon Box
The tent style box below was created by Review This author Susan.  Wouldn't it be great for a favor box for a baby shower.
Rubber Duck Family on Blue Favor Box
Rubber Duck Family on Blue Favor Box by BuckHawkParty
Look at another favor box
Here is another favor box that Susan created this one is in the gable style.

Polka Dots of Pale Yellow on Pink Favor Boxes
Polka Dots of Pale Yellow on Pink Favor Boxes by BuckHawk
View more Polka dots Favor Box at zazzle.com

Wine Boxes

Wine makes a great hostess gift.  It becomes even more special when you design a custom box for your wine.  If you are going to a fall party this box that I created out of my autumn leaves photo would make the perfect box for your wine gift.  
Autumn Leaves
Autumn Leaves by mbgphoto
View Autumn leaves Wine Gift Box online at zazzle



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Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Reviewing Best Practices for Pinterest Success

Follow these best practices to get your business noticed and achieve Pinterest success (a social media review by Coletta Teske)

Pinterest is one of the fastest-growing social media sites on the web. Follow these best practices to get your business noticed and achieve Pinterest success.

Of all the social media channels on the web, Pinterest has become the popular marketing site for small business owners, artists, designers and home-based crafters.

It is estimated that Pinterest will reach 47.1 million users in 2015. That's more than 25% of all social media users. And, these numbers are expected to grow to a user base of 59.3 million by 2019.

If you haven't joined Pinterest, you may want to seriously consider joining the crowd. But, before you do, take some time to create a Pinterest plan. If you're already on Pinterest, it may be time to review your plan.

Here is our review of the best practices to bring success on Pinterest.

Niche Your Pinterest Account


As web marketers, we're always told to "Find your niche." A niche is a fancy way of saying, "Stay on topic." And another way of saying, "develop a theme." Your niche/topic/theme is your business, art, craft or hobby.

While setting up your Pinterest account, make sure that your profile description, board titles and board descriptions always follow your main theme. And, create boards that encompass all of the areas that follow that theme to niche down your boards.
TIP:  When you have pins that don't pertain to your niche but you want to add them to a board, create a secret board where only you can see those pins. Or, create a separate Pinterest account for your personal and fun sharing.
For example, if you sell crochet craft items, build Pinterest boards around the types of items you crochet and other items that support your craft. This could include boards for crochet baby gifts, crochet plush toys, crochet tips and tricks, and crochet yarns.

Think of your Pinterest account as a department store and your boards are the different departments within your store.

Create Descriptive Boards


Pinterest boards with descriptive titles are more likely to be noticed by other Pinterest users and by the search engines. Write board titles that accurately describe the types of pins found on the board. And, don't forget to add a short description that offers more information about the board.

This may seem like a lot of work but visitors to your Pinterest page will appreciate the added descriptions. Adding titles and descriptions can turn a boring Pinterest page into an interesting and informative place where people will gather to find useful pins.

Design Eye-Catching Images


Pinterest is a visual place and the best looking images get the most notice. If you don't have any graphic design skills, this may be the most challenging Pinterest best practice that you'll encounter. But, don't give up hope, there are many online tools that will help you create incredible Pinterest graphics.

When creating images for Pinterest, keep these tips in mind:

  • Use clear photographs that accurately portray the pin.
  • Make images large to make your pins stand out from the crowd.
  • Add text to add more description.

Find Group Boards in Your Niche


There are two ways to grow your following. The first is to promote your Pinterest account and pin regularly. The other way, and an easier way, is to find group boards that match your niche and interests. When you add your pins to a group board, you reach every follower of every member of that group board. And, you may make some new friends in your niche that will help you in your cross-promotion efforts.

Post on a Regular Schedule


This is the most difficult part for many people. It's easy to get started and it's easy to pin for a while. But, as time goes on, life and work get in the way. Don't get caught in the trap of putting off your pinning until tomorrow. If you have to, set a schedule and pin by it. Even if you can only spend a few minutes a day, make a schedule and stick to it.

If you find it difficult to keep up your Pinterest enthusiasm, join a Pinterest networking group.

Join a Pinterest Networking Group


It's not always easy playing the social media game and finding a method that fits your marketing style. One of the best ways I've found to stay focused and find synergysm is to join a Pinterest networking group.

A new Pinterest network group that showed up just a few months ago and has achieved awesome success is Pinterest Party. Pinterest Party is not one of those "you share mine and I'll share yours" kind of groups. The group administrators have daily activities that help members stay active, keep their Pinterest page interesting and grow their exposure.




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Monday, March 9, 2015

Galway Bay - A Must-Read Irish Historic Fiction

As St. Patrick's Day approaches I am pulling out my copy of Galway Bay for a second reading.  Yes, it was so good that I will read it again. And that is the reason I am writing this review. Galway Bay is a beautifully-written historical fiction that describes the horrors of the potato famine and ultimately the life and survival of a family and two countries.


Galway Bay by Mary Pat Kelly

Galway Bay by Mary Pat Kelly

I happened across the novel Galway Bay one day when I was wandering around the local book store. I don't know of a way to describe this story of survival in a way that will do it justice but I will try my best.

I was immediately hooked with the prologue:

"We wouldn't die, and that annoyed them. They'd spent centuries trying to kill us off, one way or another, and here we were, raising seven, eight, nine of a famiy on nothing but potatoes and buttermilk. But then the blight destroyed the potato. Three times in four years our only food rotted in the ground." -- Honora Keeley Kelly as told to her great-granddaughter Agnella Kelly.


As we follow Honora Keeley Kelly through her life, meeting her as a young lady preparing to enter the convent, we learn of the lives of the fishermen and tenant farmers in Ireland during "the Before Times".  She is a young lady whose family supports themselves fishing Galway Bay  "so calm and quiet. But I know your moods.Turn my back and you could be raging and rolling."  Honora is determined to not be the wife of a fisherman and has decided to marry the church instead.   She is determined and her family is proud; hoping that she is chosen.  She is sure of her plan until she meets Michael Kelly.

Honora and Micheal begin their lives together, a young couple deeply in love. Then the blight comes, year after year, and destroys their major food source. Many starve during the harsh conditions.  Honora Keeley survives, but I’m not sure how since the odds are clearly against her. Penal laws continue to cause difficulties and the status quo level of poverty for tenant farmers jumps to a level of famine, starvation, and desperation.


A Personal Connection


As I age, my interest in things Irish has increased. I guess it’s hard to think about where you came from when you are young and very busy trying to figure out where you are going. But now that I’m more mature I have time to ponder things such as where my grandparents, and their parents, and their grandparents came from.

I know that my very distant relatives on my dad’s side perhaps immigrated to the United States due to fleeing religious persecution. I don’t know as much about my mom’s side. However, I do understand that at some point, they emigrated from Ireland. As a child, I remember the delighted twinkle in my grandmother's eyes as she told my mom of their trip back to Ireland. Unfortunately, I was too young to pay attention to her stories then and I couldn't understand why she was so happy to have kissed a rock with some guy named Blarney. As I age, my interest in Ireland and in my heritage grows.

I am thankful to Mary Pat Kelly for sharing her family history and story in such an entertaining and educational way.  Whether you are interested in the history of Ireland and early America or whether you love a good love story and the tale of a mother's love and desperate journey to raise her children, I think you will love this story. 





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Sunday, March 8, 2015

Review of an Easy to Use One Cup Coffee Maker

My Mom finally took the plunge and treated herself to a Keurig Coffee Maker. As most of us know by now, the convenience rests in the fact that it's quick and very easy to make one cup of coffee.
Since dad passed, and mom doesn't need (or want) a regular sized coffee maker, she's been talking about getting a Keurig for herself. Well she finally took the plunge, and sitting on her counter is this pretty coffee brewing system.
Quite frankly, I wasn't sure if I was going to like it; the main reason being that I had tried another brand
Available on Amazon - Funny Flag
of one cup coffee makers several years ago, and didn't like it at all. I found it complicated. However, in regards to this particular make and model, I do like it...and yes, it's easy to use.
It's not the type of coffee maker that would work for my family though - I have too many family members and a one cup brewing system just wouldn't cut it.
So who would a Keurig work best for:
  • Empty Nesters - absolutely ideal for just a couple!
  • Widowers - my mom is in this category, and this set-up couldn't be any better
  • Kids in Residence - University students in Dorms! A very handy item to have in their rooms
  • The Cottage - Since the amount of people vary at the cottage, when it's quiet and you don't have many visitors, this is a terrific alternative coffee maker
  • RV's - If you're on the road, the ease and speed of getting a cup of coffee is ideal
  • Nanny's Room/Grandma's In House Suite - For those who are fortunate enough to have either a Nanny or a parent living with them, this machine could easily be placed on a shelf in their bedroom.
In my own opinion what I like about this model is:
  • It really is simple - fill it with water, put the coffee cup packet in, put the cup underneath, press the start button and that's it
  • It's fast - I didn't have to wait longer than a minute or so and my coffee was made (I think it was less than a minute; anyway, it was fast)
  • No fuss to make - There's no need to pull out the coffee grinds, put in a filter (or clean an existing filter holder) or clean a coffee pot
  • Clean up is Very Simple - Toss out the used filter cup packet and wash your coffee cup
  • Flavored Coffee's Don't Alter the Taste of the Next Cup of Coffee - With this system, just put the flavored cup packet in and don't worry about the next cup taking on the flavor of the previous cup
So here's the ultimate question, would I personally invest in a one cup coffee maker, namely a Keurig...YES, I sure would! My personal favorite coffee brand is Maxwell House, and you can get Maxwell House packets for this machine - In fact I had two cups this morning! Most of all it's the speed and convenience that make it a worthwhile investment.
by Barbara Tremblay Cipak



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Saturday, March 7, 2015

Crafting in St. Patrick's Day Green

Happy St. Patrick's Day! (Pixabay)
St. Patrick, the patron saint of Ireland, is honored and celebrated on March 17 each year.  The green of the Irish flag is the official color for St. Patrick’s Day.  Green is also associated with Ireland's poetic name, the “Emerald Isle”.  Creating crafts in green is a fun way to add to the pleasure of St. Patrick's Day.


If you are a yarn crafter like me, grab some green yarn and create anything from a shamrock to a plush animal. 





St. Patrick's Day Crocheted Octopus

Handmade Baby Octopus in Green & Gold
Plush Baby Octopus in Crochet

This little plush octopus is handmade in crochet in a combination of Irish green and the gold of the 'pot of gold' at the end of the rainbow we sometimes associate with Irish mythology. 

This St. Patrick's Day crocheted octopus measures about 2 inches tall and 6 inches across his tentacles. This one is available in my Etsy Shop of Coastal Crochet Crafts.  If you crochet and would like to create your own Irish octopus in crochet, I created a free pattern tutorial for you. 



An Irish Shamrock in a Handmade Knitted Washcloth

 

Knitted Shamrock Washcloth
Pattern to Knit an Irish Shamrock Washcloth

The Shamrock is known as a symbol of Ireland. According to legend, St. Patrick used it as a metaphor for the Christian Trinity. With this pattern for knitters, you can create your very own green shamrock design on a cotton dishcloth, perfect for this March holiday.  

Finished shamrock dishcloth will measure 8 x 8 inches.  The pattern was created by an Indiana knitter (Aunt Susan) and can be found in her Etsy Shop Aunt Susan's Closet.




Shamrock Beverage Coasters



Shamrock Coasters
Shamrock Tabletop Coasters

Shamrock designs are popular in any form.  These cute beverage coasters handmade in needlepoint on plastic canvas are just the thing to protect your tabletops at your St. Patrick's Day celebrations, which might include 'green' beer or Irish coffee!

These Shamrock Beverage Coasters were created by Pat of Georgia and are available in her Etsy Shop Coastal Crochet Crafts.   Irish drink coasters measure 4 x 4 inches with a design of that Irish clover and stitched in two shades of green with the design outlined in black.  


A Collection of St. Patrick's Day Crafts


For a large selection of St. Patrick's Day crafts for both children and adults, check out this article The Best St. Patrick's Day Crafts by Loraine Brummer (lbrummer)


Irish Green Plush Penguin

 

Irish Green Plush Penguin
I crocheted a plush penguin in Irish Green yarn as my way of celebrating St. Patrick's Day.  This green penguin is a round and roly-poly 5 x 5 inches and enjoys this March holiday loved by the Irish. He can be found in the Etsy Shop of Coastal Crochet Crafts



Shamrocks by Kathie


Shamrocks on Purses, Coin Purses & Lanyards

A collection of Shamrocks on handmade quilted purses, coin purses, and fabric lanyards created by Kathie in Iowa for her Etsy Shop called CutePurseNalities

Kathie's beautiful purses and tote bags are outstanding and her fabric lanyards and coin purses are so handy. In addition to St. Patrick's Day Shamrock themes, Kathie creates in many other designs, including animals, nature, other holidays, seasons, foods, shapes and science. 

More St. Patrick's Day Craft Ideas


Available on Amazon
As a parent, a teacher, a Scout leader or a child caregiver, have fun with the children you know while telling them about St. Patrick's Day or getting ready for a St. Paddy's Day party.  

This book of 12 St. Patrick's Day crafts easy for kids to do is an enjoyable place to begin. The book is available in Amazon's Kindle Store.



If you have any St. Patrick's Day crafts or tutorials to share, please leave the link in the comment section below. 



Happy St. Patrick's Day!

 



Quick Links:




 
Article by Wednesday Elf of the crochet blog Crochet - Crafts - Critters. 
Wednesday Elf can also be found in her Etsy Shop Coastal Crochet Crafts  





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Friday, March 6, 2015

Planting in Spring for Summer Beauty Review

Gardeners are planners!  In order to have beautiful gardens year round, they must plan ahead, often planting months before they can expect to see the rewards for their labor.

In fall, we plant blubs for spring flowering, but in spring we plant for summer and fall flowers.

Many of us keep a journal of what we planted where.  That way we don't accidentally dig up bulbs or perennial plants.  Some blubs and plants are pretty forgiving and will simply bloom together or around each other.  Others would be ruined by accidental invasion, so we plot and plan well in advance and then wait for the glorious presentation of beautiful blooms.


Flowers to Plant in Spring for Summer Blooming  

When we plant our bulbs in the fall, it can seem like an eternity before the flowers bloom, but that is not the case with spring planting and summer flowers.  Here are some examples of flowers we plant now that will reward us before we know it.
  • Cornflower ~ Friend and gardener Beverly Owens recommends Coneflowers which not only have the benefit of beautiful blooms, but also attract butterflies and bees to our gardens.
  • Calla Lily ~ One of my personal favorites is the Calla Lily.   I have always planted a variety of colors, but Paula Atwell introduced me to the Black Star Calla Lily.  I am very excited about adding the Black Star to my blooming collection. 
  • Nasturtiums ~ This is another flower that is available in a variety of colors including a black Nasturtium.  These plants are fabulous for ground cover or as climbing flowers.
  • Alliums ~ Gorgeous spiral blooms that are a unique treat in any garden.  These flowers certainly don't look like your average garden bloom.  On Diary of a Wild Country Garden, Jasmine features Alliums, Freesias and Oriental Lilies.
  • Aster ~ Big and beautiful blooms for in summer and fall.  
  • Butterfly Bush ~ Attract additional beauty to your garden with a butterfly bush.
  • Astilbe ~ A delicate looking perennial that is actually very strong and resilient with gorgeous flowers and fern like foliage.
  • Delphiniums ~ The delphinium is lovely, but there is one concern, it can not tolerate extreme heat and hot temperature regions.  
  • Daylilies ~ If you live in the south, you can plant Daylilies in the spring for summer blooming, but northern region gardeners should wait until fall to plant Daylilies.

Late Summer / Early Fall Flowers

 

What to Do With Mums in Sprint
Depending on your region, some Mums will start to bloom in late summer.   Many regions do not see Mum blooms until fall, but I wanted to include them here simply because they can and should be planted in the spring and you will want to select a place for them while planning your garden.

Planting mums in the spring also gives the plant time to acclimate to your soil and to deep root.   Susan Deppner not only asks the question  What to do With Mums in Spring, but provides answers from experts and fellow gardeners.





Summer Flowers with Side Benefits

 

Seven Easy to Grow Edible Flowers

Sunflowers are not only gorgeous summer blooms that are planted in the spring, but their seeds and tubers are edible.

Likewise,  the beauty of the Nasturtium flowers is noted above, but did you know that Nasturtiums are edible and can be used for flavoring in food?  

Our own contributor, Coletta Teske, not only writes for Review This, but she owns The Grocery Garden.   In her article, 7 Easy Easy to Grow Edible Flowers, Coletta features flowers that are not only beautiful additions to our gardens, but are also edible.  I am sure you will want to read all about these summer flowers that are also sources food and nutrition.


I enjoy working and writing online.  There are so many wonderful articles shared by fellow online writers that encourage, inspire and teach freely.

Do you have an article about Summer Flowers that are planted in the spring that you would like to share?  Please leave the link in our guestbook below so we can visit your Summer Flowers article today.


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Thursday, March 5, 2015

Customized Crafting Supplies on Zazzle

Do you enjoy doing crafts, but sometimes can't find the right materials to fit your project?  Zazzle has a host of different craft supplies that you can customize to fit your needs from materials to ribbons and much more you can find the supplies for that perfect project on  Zazzle.
Peggy's Cove Lighthouse
Peggy's Cove Lighthouse by lighthouseenthusiast
Check out other Peggy's cove lighthouse Fabrics at zazzle.com
I enjoy lighthouses, so I am using photographs of my lighthouses to demonstrate the various Zazzle crafts supplies that can be created.  The item above is a fabric created from my photograph of Peggy's Cove lighthoue in Nova Scotia.

Fabrics

Zazzle carries 7 different types of fabric that are available as swatches, fat quarters or by the yard.  You can create your own design as I did above or choose a design already custom made by one of the many Zazzle artists.

Ribbons

Ribbons can also be made on Zazzle to complement your craft projects.  They come in either grosgrain or satin and are in 1.5 inch and 3 inch widths.  You can buy them in spools of 2, 6 or 10 yards.  These ribbons are great for craft projects, gift wrap and hair bows.  Here is one I created from my Peggy's Cove photo.
Peggy's Cove Lighthouse


Peggy's Cove Lighthouse by lighthouseenthusiast
Check out more Zazzle Ribbon

Stickers

Zazzle has a wide array of different shapes and sizes of stickers that can be used in craft projects.  I once made a sticker of a church to put on bookmarks for a church convention.  Stickers can decorate packages or add a finishing touch to a special card.  Here are some of the stickers I have made on Zazzle.  They are all ones taken from my lighthouse photography.

Ocracoke Lighthouse Sticker
Ocracoke Lighthouse Sticker by lighthouseenthusiast
Check out other Ocracoke island Stickers at zazzle.com
Split Rock Lighthouse in the Fall Square Sticker
Split Rock Lighthouse in the Fall Square Sticker by lighthouseenthusiast
Look at Split rock lighthouse Stickers online at Zazzle.com



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Monday, March 2, 2015

Writing and Remembering the Old-Fashioned Way

Blue Butterfly
Writers are well aware of how quickly a great plot or idea for an amazing article will come into our heads. They are such good ideas that we are sure we will remember them until we finish whatever it is we are doing.  Right?  Wrong. We don't remember and the ideas flit away as quickly as they came. Finding a way to save our thoughts is something we need to learn to do.  I prefer the old fashioned way - a favorite pen and a journal.

Technology for Writers


Recording our thoughts as soon as we get them has been highly recommended or practiced by many authors, including Mark Twain. Currently, some authors still create that novel with pen and paper. But for the most part, typewriters followed by keyboards have been a writer's best friend.  We sit at our electronic gadgets to write, edit, and sometimes to add our thoughts to the internet.  I love my laptop and would be lost without it. But I also have to capture those fleeting thoughts when my gadgets aren't available.

During very long drives, I often wish I had a voice recorder.  I always end up with great ideas when I'm driving.  I don't pull over on the interstate to jot those ideas down. And no matter how good the thoughts were I have forgotten them by the time I arrive at my destination.  While driving, a recorder would be an excellent choice.  However, my preferred method of keeping track of ideas is with a good spiral journal.

Spiral Journals for Writers


Orchids on Brown
I have kept journals for many years. I write both important and trivial things in them.  My journals are a combination of address book, tracking politicians and legislation that I'm interested in, personal diary, research organizer, and fiction blurb depository.  I am occasionally fearful that upon my passing from this earth, someone will read my journals and confuse the factual entries with the fictional blurbs. After all, one page might contain my current weight and exercise information and the next might contain a few paragraphs describing how the lady-next-door lost her mind and planned to murder the annoying neighbor. Let's hope the only people who see my journals after my passing either understand my writing habits or have an odd sense of humor.

Piccadilly -- In looking back at my collection of journals, I realized that Piccadilly is a brand that I most often use.  I like the colorful and durable covers, the sturdy wire spiral, and the quality of the paper.  I often feel as though the act of unplugging and physically writing sometimes gets my creative juices flowing. This Orchids on Brown and a butterfly are my two favorite journal designs. The large journals are approximately 9 x 11 and fit perfectly in the bag I carry to work. This size lends itself to longer rambling entries.

Occasionally, I prefer to carry a smaller journal. On long hikes, other outdoor adventures, or traveling in public venues (such as the metro) I don't want the extra weight of a large journal. So I carry a small version.  While I use this for rambling notes and bits of fiction, the medium sized journals are also good for jotting short notes and not feeling like I'm wasting an entire page.

Zazzle -- I have several friends who use their photography to create gorgeous spiral journals on Zazzle. Their original artwork makes these journals unique.  In addition, you can often personaizel Zazzle items further by adding a name. CrypticArt's Web of Pearls spiral notebook and Melkav's Beautiful Bouquet are just two examples of the many spiral notebooks offered.





If you don't yet have a way to hang on to those fleeting story ideas, I hope you try jotting them down in a journal. If you have a tried and true method of not losing those ideas, I hope you share your secret with the rest of us. 




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